Today I’m interviewing debut novelist Lori M. Jones about her release of RENAISSANCE OF THE HEART – available on Amazon now! (*squealing*) I love speaking with writers, and hearing about the road they’ve traveled to publication. Never an easy road. Wrought with ups and downs and detours that seemingly lead to nowhere. But this writer made it happen. Here’s her story…
Tell me – what’s RENAISSANCE OF THE HEART about?
A woman’s journey to find forgiveness and to find love again after her husband leaves her for another man.
Where do you write?
I write in my kitchen, in coffee shops and in a meeting room at Eat n Park every Wednesday with a writing group. But I do my best writing away from my laptop – during a long run or during a long shower.
What inspired you to write this story?
I wanted to turn my own journey of surviving divorce and finding forgiveness into a character’s story. So, I took my own experience, married it with a “what if” scenario and threw in my love of Pittsburgh and football (added in some fantasy) and Renaissance was born. I’d heard Stephanie Meyer (author of Twilight) say how she got started by simply writing down her fantasy on her laptop while being a stay at home mom. Shortly after, I sat down at my own laptop and typed away!
What has been your greatest surprise throughout the publishing process?
The biggest surprise was how supportive writers are of other writers. I think outsiders might think we are all competing against each other. When actually, we all pull each other through this long, hard process. It’s more grueling than anyone realizes. But through my own writing journey, I’ve found a big family of writers who I couldn’t survive without!
What’s one piece of advice you’d like to relay to aspiring writers?
Find a few writers who you can trust to review your work and give you honest feedback. Keep writing, keep editing, revise your story again and again. Just when you think you’ve created a masterpiece – revise it! You’ll be amazed at the writer you can become, if you keep on, keeping on! Okay, that was more than just “one” piece of advice!
Do you find writing to be collaborative?
Yes! I have a wonderful critique group who I rely on greatly. I have other writer friends who I rely on for marketing advice. I can’t imagine how you could go through this alone!
Where do you get your ideas from?
Life! Some of the bigger stuff I have written about are past experiences that I’ve extrapolated on. But once you declare to the universe that you’re “a writer” you open yourself up to observing the world around you in a whole different way. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t say at least once, “I’m going to use that in my story. I’m writing about that.” And I also do a lot of research. That’s one of the cool things about being a writer – I’m constantly learning!
Do you have an author platform?
After the launch of my first children’s book, Riley’s Heart Machine, I started a Riley’s Heart Machine page that has evolved into a heart defect awareness page and a support page for heart kids or kids with pacemakers. I also have a website www.lorimjones.com and an author page facebook.com/lorimjonesauthor. Follow me on Twitter @lorijoneswrites
My best marketing tool is visiting schools with my children’s books and teaching them about writing and about embracing what makes them special.
What would you have done differently?
I’ve learned some things and will possibly try new things moving forward, but I feel like this book took the path that was perfect for it.
Tell us something about you that readers may be surprised to know?
That my first published book (written in 2007) was offered a contract in 2009 but wasn’t released until 2012. This novel’s first draft was finished in 2010 and is just seeing the light of day. The process is slow!
Something readers might be surprised to learn about me in general is that I did not do well at all in my senior writing composition class. However, I totally geeked-out in my Today’s Novels class!
And I’d like to add an interesting tidbit about Renaissance that a reader might not pick up on: I used the scores from the Steelers’ six Super Bowl victories as the fictional scores I quote throughout the book.
What’s next? Tell us about your work in progress.
I’m getting close to finishing my third novel about a woman’s journey to find a kidney donor. During her quest, she finds support from two men from her past. Through my involvement with the Children’s Heart Foundation, I’ve gained a great passion for organ donation. So that inspired my new protagonist and her journey. I married that with a bit of inspiration from one of my favorite movies, “The Thorn Birds” and peppered in a tale of forbidden love….
Here’s a little recap of RENAISSANCE OF THE HEART…
After her husband of fifteen years comes out of the closet, a blindsided, forty year old Amanda Lewis is forced to salvage what remains of her shattered heart and navigate a new life for herself and her teenage daughter. But will a sizzling secret romance with a famous young NFL quarterback lead her to winning the life she deserves or set her up for her biggest loss yet?
As she embarks on the journey of rebuilding her home, Amanda discovers that finding forgiveness and repairing her damaged self-worth are her biggest challenges of all. While searching her soul – and even searching inside her city’s history – she finds answers. But will answers come too late and can a broken heart ever be truly fixed?